Egba Gbagura


HRM OBA Halidu Laloko. MFR
Sobekun II
The Agura of Gbagura


Gbagura Egba

Yoruba as a race are all children of Oduduwa with Ile-Ife as their cradle. Apart from population explosion which compelled them to spread out from Ile-Ife and scatter all over places in pockets of settlements in villages and hamlets (which invariably became known and referred to as homesteads) with their respective cultural heritage, one other principal factor that precipitated their vagrancy and wandering from one forest location to another was the incessant inter-tribal hostilities and warfare.

As they moved from one place to the other, they regrouped and formed larger and formidable settlements to ward-off enemy attacks. In most cases, such settlements later developed and metamorphosed into towns and cities.

In essence, the genesis of the founding of Egba settlement known as Abeokuta began with different Yoruba tribes and groups, which met one another in Egba Forest, and later aligned themselves into a federal set-up. One of such groups were the Gbaguras. They all finally settled down and took shelter and domicile under and around Olumo Rock.

The period in focus, 1830, was selected for its relevance. First was the year that Gbagura people, as other section of Egbaland, arrived Abeokuta from their different homesteads. Next, it was the year Gbagura heroes together with other Egba warriors fought for their survival in Egbaland. After the war, Gbagura people deferred the coronation of the first Oba in Egbaland until 1870 when, Kabiyesi Oba Jamolu was crowned. This was so to ensure that all insurrections had ended, and all invasions contained, before installation of a traditional head could be considered.

However, this book, The Nation Gbagura, concentrates more specifically on who the Gbaguras are, their homestead and villages within Egbaland, the roles Gbagura leaders played in Egba History, coupled with twenty years of peaceful reign of HRM Alaiyeluwa, Oba Halid Adedayo Ajani Laloko, Shobekun II, JP, the Agura of Gbagura, and the process of forming rudimentary federal as reflected in the number and manner that words, names, towns or areas are repeated many times in this book. Separate chapters in the book are devoted to Who's Who in Gbagura, Gbagura Council of Chiefs and Associations in Gbagura; although attempts were made to make them all-embracing, the scope, however, was limited to the prime movers and shakers of the community.

Happily, everything that transpired in Gbagura since the coronation of Kabiyesi Alaiyeluwa Oba Halid Adedayo Olaloko Shobekun II, JP as the 8th Agura of Gbagura is graphically splashed all over the pages of The Nation Gbagura.

Within the area of Yoruba Country, there were no less than three successive waves of emigrations from Ile-Ife in the 13th and 14th Centuries (AD), and from these, eventually, came the three major sections of Egba Federation, namely, Egba Ake, Egba Oke Ona and Egba Agura. The Gbagura people migrated from their respective homesteads situated on an imaginary line drawn from the present day Iddo-Osun-Offa-Awe-Ejigbo-Akinmorin-Fiditi-Ilora-Oyo-Ojoo-Ibadan-Omi Adio and coming west-wards past Ibadan and ending on the outskirts of the present Abeokuta. As a result of the internecine wars in the Yoruba country, the aftermath of Owu War resulted in Owu settling in Abeokuta in 1834. It is well known, however, that these three sections, later joined by Owu, built a stronghold at Abeokuta. The founding of Abeokuta itself is well documented in oral history. In the Gbagura section of Abeokuta, there were at one time 144 townships (or wards) from homestead, that made Gbagura, 72 of which were under Onigu of Ilugun who did not agree that Agura was his senior. The remaining 72 townships (wards) swore allegiance to the Agura of Gbagura.


As the process of the Federation was inevitably demanded, the 144 towns were eventually merged under Agura. The Onigu, indeed the Ilugun towns, which lost the capital status to Iddo town, finally left the Gbagura section and joined Oke-ona section. Much later, Idomapa and Ilawo towns also left Gbagura section to join Oke-Ona. In the process of primary Federation, Gbagura emerged as the largest entity in the old Egba Forest with the Agura as its Oba and Iddo as its capital town. The Gbagura section played commendable roles in the struggle of the Egbas to free themselves from the tyranny of the Ilari or the emissary of the Oloyo (Alafin Oyo), who in the turbulent days of war of conquest were stationed in each of the Egba towns. A glaring example was the garrison stationed on the outskirts of Egba forest now known as Osiele to face any external aggression. The garrison was headed by Akaashi – a great warlord from Ibadan section of Gbagura. Since then, the Akaashi military Cantonment in Osiele has metamorphosed into a large Gbagura settlement with a Baale. Till today, Akaashi has remained a Gbagura titled Chieftaincy for Osiele town on the outskirts of Abeokuta.

It was Akila of Iddo who could rightly be described as the first Osi Egba – the commander of the left wing of Egba army. During the war, Gbagura fought alongside the Egba army. It is no gainsaying that they played prominent roles, and distinguished themselves during the war. Among those that distinguished themselves were:- Oluwole Agbo Balogun Ojoo; who offered his pregnant wife for a sacrifice during the war. Anoba, the Balogun Ika; Dada Ojigan, the first Honourary Aare; Oluseye Balogun of Ika the great man-Olalekan; late Balogun Iddo and Madam Efunroye Tinubu of Ojokodo fame. They were so outstanding that but for the formidable arrangement, Akila of Iddo Gbagura could have rightly been acclaimed as the first Osi-Egba-the commandment of the left wing of Egba Army. Anoba would have assumed the title of Balogun Egba reserved for Igbein. Anoba was somehow permitted to import the extra-constitutional title of Aare Onakakanfo from Oluyole Ibadan.

During the war, Gbagura occupied the area next to Ogun River. Indeed, Gbagura became a force to be reckoned with in the Egbado, Ijebu-Remo as well as the Awori wars until they made Abeokuta an impregnable fortress which even the invincible Dahomey warriors could not conquer.

In all walks of life, Gbagura people played noble art and distinguished themselves in all endeavours. It is worthy of note that bravery and the indomitable spirit of their Ancestors were manifested in their contribution to the solution of Egba problems. One such pedigree of distinguished old Gbagura warriors is the late Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola. He was the modern symbol of Gbagura in Egba, Ogun State and Nigeria as a whole. Bashorun M. K. O. Abiola is the sacrificial lamb of politics in Nigeria.

The status of the Agura as a major Oba in Abeokuta has been well established. Despite the antics of modern day politics and government formation, the Agura has retained his status as a Paramount Ruler of Gbagura within Egba Federation in Abeokuta since the days when Obas had legislative roles in the Western Regional House of Chiefs. In the present Ogun state council of Obas and Egba Chieftaincy Committee, kabiyesi, the Agura of Gbagura's place remains paramount with prescribed authority to honour sons and daughters of Gbagura including others from Egba and other tribes in Nigeria and abroad with chieftaincy titles in recognition of their attainments in life and their services to the fatherland.

The Agura of Gbagura Abeokuta Oba, Dr. Halid Adedayo Laloko Sobekun II, MFR, JP, has just been conferred with the National Honour of the members of the Order of Federal Republic (MFR) by His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.